Less than 24 hours after Mainers rejected a state law allowing same-sex marriage, Time magazine rushed to comfort gay activists with Michael Lindenberger's sloppy, transparently biased article titled "Gay-Marriage Activists Look Ahead After Defeat in Maine."
With condescension reminiscent of Peter Jennings - in 1994 the ABC anchor characterized the Republican takeover of Congress as the electorate having a "temper tantrum" - Lindenberger portrayed same-sex marriage opponents as stubborn children, saying, "Maine voters insisted on having their say on an issue that simply will not go away." Rather than just report and analyze the outcome, the article simultaneously sympathized with gay activists and emphasized, by way of many pro-gay quotes, the futility of fighting against an "incredible campaign" that simply wants justice.
Maine defenders of traditional marriage only had one quote in the nearly 1,200-word article: "What's the hurry [for gay marriage]?" That's six words, if you count the brackets.
The article also reassured same-sex marriage proponents that this rejection will leave no lasting scars:
Maine's vote, much like all of the states before it, including California's vote on Prop 8 a year ago, will do little to slow the fight over gay marriage. Not in Maine, where Tuesday's vote was only the equivalent of a veto and can be easily reversed by lawmakers when they next meet, and not in the rest of country, where the issue continues to roil courthouses and statehouses alike. ‘Ultimately, this is going to have to have a national resolution,' says same-sex-marriage activist Mary Bonauto, one of the nation's top lawyers involved in the campaign to legalize gay marriage. ‘It's about aligning promises found in the Constitution with America's laws.'
To Lindenberger, Maine voters (and those of every other state that have been given a chance to say no to same-sex marriage) are fighting a hopeless rearguard action. He cited a vote in Washington State, ratifying "a law that was passed earlier this year giving its 6,000 registered domestic partners the same state rights as married couples," and said cities "as different as Chapel Hill, N.C., and Houston supported openly gay candidates for mayor ..."
And even if the righteous march of gay equality weren't so irresistible, there would still be "silver linings." Again the article quoted Bonauto:
One way or another, after this vote, the people of Maine are not going to allow gay and lesbian people to remain strangers to the law ... Gays and lesbians have met their non-gay neighbors, and they have introduced their families and their children.
Not only was the piece brazenly one-sided, it was also sloppy. The opening made it sound like Maine was only the second state to allow gay marriage by saying: "Mainers' 53-47 vote to reject gay marriage does more than simply slap down a law that just six months ago had made Maine the U.S.'s second state to permit same-sex couples to wed."
The lead was trying to differentiate between states that have legalized gay marriage legislatively as opposed to judicially. Later, Lindenberger bunched Vermont and New Hampshire - states that have legislatively legalized gay marriage - with the states that allow it by judicial decree.